To freeze my tomatoes, I simply throw whole cherry tomatoes or chunks of slicing tomatoes in small freezer bags (use whatever size bags holds enough for one recipe), and process them later in the fall/winter as needed. This method works great for sauce, soup, etc.
However, my favorite way to enjoy summer tomatoes in the dark depths of winter is to dry them. This concentrates the rich tomato flavor, which adds a delightful layer of flavor to your dishes. You may have seen the expensive, tiny jars of oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes at the grocery store - luckily, there is another way to get that amazing flavor without the expense.
How To - Dehydrator
To "sun-dry" your tomatoes, you can use a dehydrator or an oven. Simply halve the cherry tomatoes and cut the beefsteaks/paste tomatoes into 1/2" - 1/4" slices, and lay them on the rack of the dehydrator (cut side up, in the case of cherries). The timing is very variable depending on your model of dehydrator and the ambient atmosphere, and the most reliable method is just to keep an eye on their drying progress. You want the tomatoes to be dry and flexible, but not crunchy and burnt. For me, with my super simple dehydrator (which I found for $3 at a thrift store!) that only has "on" and "off" settings, it usually takes around 24 hours. However, if you are using another, fancier model, times may vary.
How To - Oven
For oven drying, set your oven to the lowest temp and figure out a way to prop the door open - a wooden spoon usually works for me. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, or use a wire rack, and cover with tomato slices. Bake at the lowest temp possible for 4-6 hours.
There are so many ways to use your preserved tomatoes! Chop them up small and throw them into a sauce or soup at the beginning of cooking so they have a long time to rehydrate and release their flavor. Or, blitz them in a food processor or blender and incorporate into homemade pasta, meat dishes, or more refined sauces. Or, just soak them in olive oil, and use them on a pizza (pro tip - don't throw away that olive oil! It's very tasty).
Sun-Dried Tomato Buffalo Short Ribs
- 1 pckg (2-3lbs) buffalo or beef short ribs
- 1 small handful "sun-dried" tomatoes
- 1 medium can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1-2 tbsp red wine (optional)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup broth, if needed
- 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Instant pot - place all ingredients in Instant Pot and pressure cook for 1 hour. Remove short ribs, let cool, and remove meat from bones. Meanwhile, simmer the sauce until it reaches desired consistency. Add meat back in, and cook on low for another 1-3 hours, or until meat is tender and falling apart.
- Dutch oven - Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place all ingredients in Dutch oven. Cook for 3-5 hours, adding additional liquid (wine, broth, or water), and stirring occasionally until meat is fully cooked. Remove short ribs, let cool, and remove meat from bones. Meanwhile, simmer the sauce on stovetop until it reaches desired consistency. Add meat back in, and cook on low on stovetop for another 1-3 hours, or until meat is tender and falling apart.
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